Is there a scientifically accepted definition of matter, and if so, what is it?
What is matter?
'It is the real substance of which actual physical objects - the 'things' of this world - are composed.' Sir Roger Penrose.
Thanks, but hardly scientific.
How much more scientific could you get?
Okay? - Is there anything wrong with this description of matter? . . .
Matter has mass and occupies space. Matter occupies it’s own space and cannot occupy the space of other matter. An atom is the smallest indivisible unit of matter. Anything subatomic is not matter.
Newton would've probably agreed with your mass statement. Yet Einstein says E=mc2. In other words, energy and mass are interchangeable. This is commonly appreciated when considering particles, people appreciate the interchangeability when decaying Uranium atom seems to swap mass for energy. But it seems to me less appreciated that Maxwell's electromagnetic field (which carries energy, right?) must therefore carry mass, thus a field is also matter. In fact a substantial portion of a body's mass is derived from the elecromagnetic fields within it! Of course, Einstein's gravitational field would therefore be matter too, but it is difficult to pin down because of reference frame considerations (don't ask me!), thing get more messy in the quantum world, but I won't even attempt to go there. That said, I certainly don't think the atom is the smallest indivisible unit of matter - I would say your statement was for the most part wrong.
Thanks - Isn't this essentially saying that anything and everything that exists is matter?
One consistent thing that I have noticed is that matter (baronic) reflects or emits wavelengths on the Electromagnetic spectrum. That is why we differentiate ordinary matter from dark matter. Matter has mass, obeys newtons laws of motion and on larger scales such as planetoid, planets and galaxies they have a noticeable gravitational attraction with other pieces of matter.
Since when do protons, neutrons, and electrons not have mass or take up space?
Well, Wiki is a good start.
Matter - that which possesses mass and geometry, therefore both enacting and obeying the laws of general relativity.
Anyway I guess I can still argue that two electrons can't occupy the same quantum state at the same time and that this is essentially the "quantum version" of the principle of not being in the same "place" at the same time.
If I'm wrong/ too ambiguous/confused here, please correct me.
I can't help thinking of this little plaque that my dad kept from his McGill days back in the '20s.
What is matter?
What is mind?
What is matter : anything that obeys the properties of mass ie creats a gravitational field and obeys the laws of inertia.
This is circular.
"Mass grips spacetime, telling it how to curve, but also spacetime itself grips spacetime, transmitting curvature from near to far." John Archibald Wheeler
No, matter and energy are not interchangeable. That famous equation tells you how much energy you get when mass is directly converted to energy. The '=' sign is between numbers not two completely different physical states.
Matter is a physical substance that:
(1) occupies space
(2) has mass
(3a) is composed of atoms
(3b) or is part of an atom (such as quark)
(4) is convertible to energy
Matter is a substance and concepts of mass-atoms-quarks-energy are properties of matter.
What about this definition: matter is any physical system composed of one or more elementary particles (photons, neutrinos, electrons, protons, neutrons, etc.)?
Isn't matter a human sensing approximation of the energy acting at very small scales? Since we observe forces that doesn't let us put an electron just next to another one, we call that volume. Since there are gravitational forces acting appealing this energy we say it has mass which is just a values that describes how much force is there.
I am a telecommunications engineer. Sorry if this is just a stupid answer. :)
Interesting topic, but I think the answer in classical manner to this question will be profound anyway and semiscientific. Remember that "matter" could be bosonic or fermionic, so that Bosons do not obey Pauli exclusion principle and do not occupy space exclusively, but Fermions do. So bosons can have mass, but several of them can be located at the same space location, so definition of matter is not good in terms of location or mass. In the past scientists thought that forces or fields are different from the matter, but modern theories think of them as a whole - they are basically the same and 'matter' consists of both types.
Generally, I would say that matter that we feel (sort of 'classical' matter) consists of quantum fields of energy, so that atom is a sort of a elastic bubble in space (it made of simply energy and mostly empty inside, only geometry and interactions are vital) but with help of electromagnetism it repels from other atoms and can form complex structures with other atoms. Position is not really important there and mass is property of matter (but, remember, that mass could be 0). So in that definition we will get semiclassical notion of what matter is and it will agree with modern understanding.
If you want a precise definition in some quantum terms, then still we do not have exact answer - matter could be a vibration strings on a very small scales or some ripples in spacetime and so on...
If I am went in wrong direction then sorry :)
Separate names with a comma.